Pins and needles: Needlepoint accessories-Part 3

Much to my delight, I have spent a surprisingly interesting few days learning about the fascinating history of pins and needles.Pins2

My research reminded me that pins and needles have performed a great many functions through history.  Did you know that archeologists have found:

  • Neolithic needles in what is now south west France that are estimated to be over 25,000 years old
  • Ivory, silver and bronze needles from Ancient Egyptian tombs
  • Greek and Roman pins to secured clothing
  • Ornate Medieaval pins beautifully crafted by hand.

Today we associate needles and pins with of sewing, however needles and pins were used for all manner of essential things until reletative recent times, including such vastly different items as book binding, making shoes and sails.

I was surprised to learn that Muslim craftsmen in Spain made needles as early as the 11th century. Muslims doctors were some of the most knowledgeable in the world at this time, and they used this technology to develop the skills for suturing wounds.Pins1

European craftsmen learnt about needle making from these Muslim craftsmen which is how the technology came to England. Monasteries were often involved in the production of needles so when Henry the VIII closed the monasteries production almost stopped. The need for needles and pins was so important the King passed an Act in 1543 encouraging the manufacture of good quality needles and pins by lay craftsmen.

In around 1850, pin and needle making machines began production and what had previously been a cottage craft became an industry. While the metals used to make pins and needles have developed essential the manufacture is the same today.Pins

For each sewing project it  is important to use the correct needles and pins because it does make a difference to the quality of your work and your enjoyment of stitching which I think is just as important.

When you order a   Studio Stitches needlepoint kit you will receive two quality tapestry needles, perfect for your project.

So now we all know a little more, let’s get out those pins and needles and continue the wonderful tradition of needlework!

Happy stitching!


Want to learn more?

  • The origins of everyday things
  • Needles and Pins article:
  • Historical sewing –
  • A quilt historians look at sewing needles –
  • An Illustrated Guide to to Types and Uses of Hand Sewing Needles –
  • Findings: The Material Culture of Needlework and Sewing – Mary Carolyn Beaudry; mines archeological findings that trace the female experience





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